Growing hybrid tea roses in containers is as easy as growing them in the garden if you pay attention to these rules:
1) Use a good quality soilless mix. Do not use regular soil as it will compact and your small feeder roots will suffer. When they suffer, so does your rose.
2) Use the same soil all the way to the bottom of the pot It is an old wive’s tale that you have to put clay shards or rocks at the bottom of the pot to improve drainage and grow a good plant.
3) Use a big enough pot I use 14-inch clay pots (or larger) for my roses. You need enough soil in the pot to keep itself cool as excessive heat will kill off roots. Adequate soil is also important so you do not have to water every half hour to keep your rose alive. You *can* grow roses in smaller containers but they tend to get too large and flop about in the wind. There’s few things that annoy me more than having blooms knocked off because the pot was too small for the plant.
4) Plant bud union at the soil level or slightly above for fast and uniform growth.
5) Plan on feeding at least weekly. You only have to feed your plants if you want them to produce leaves, flowers or fruit. In this case, we want both leaves and flowers. I use a weekly dose of fish emulsion along with every two week doses of compost tea to keep my roses growing and looking good.
6) Plan on watering daily. You might not have to water every day but the rule of thumb is to water your containers when you can put your finger on the soil and it comes away bone dry. If it comes away damp – leave the pot alone. And when you do water, soak the pot until water pours out the bottom of the pot. This ensures that the soil is damp right to the bottom and that excessive fertilizer salts are driven out the bottom of the pot.
Do not water “a little bit” unless you want to see the bottom of the pot dry up (the roots die up) and your plants struggle. Water it well or don’t bother growing containers because watering is the key to success or failure with growing hybrid tea roses in containers.
7) Follow all other rules for rose gardening including location, pruning, pinching, insect and disease control.
8) Take the time to smell them